Home News Govt winning war against Boko Haram, bandits – Lai Mohammed

Govt winning war against Boko Haram, bandits – Lai Mohammed


Terrorists and bandits are fast losing the anti-insurgency war to the Federal Government, Information, Culture and Tourism Minister Lai Mohammed claimed yesterday.

Insisting that Boko Haram has no caliphate in the Northeast or any part of the country, the minister said the deployment of the 12 Super Tucano jets to pound terrorists’ in their hideouts has enhanced the anti-terror war.

According to him, Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) are taking on each other in a mutually-destructive lockstep.

The terrorists, Mohammed noted, have been surrendering in droves.

Mohammed spoke at a news briefing in Abuja, where he faulted a report in The Economist.

The mister said: “But the truth of the matter is that the bandits are losing the war, the Federal Government is winning the war against terrorists. Like the governor of Katsina State told us, it is wrong to ascribe ideological, ethnic or religious reasons to bandits.

“The bandits are just criminals. In his words, he said we are the same. The bandits, the kidnappers, the aggressors and the victims are Muslims, they are Fulani. They are of the same culture; they live in the same place.

“So, I can say that it will only continue to get better. And with all the 12 Super Tucano jets having been received and the daily pounding the terrorists are receiving, I think we are good to go.

“We were in Maiduguri about two weeks ago and the governor of Borno State confirmed to us that he is receiving in droves the terrorists who are surrendering. And when they surrendered, they moved them into different categories.

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“There are those of them who were hardened criminals, those who made guns, and those who had just come back who were women and children.

“The truth of the matter is yes we are winning the war. Only this week, the governor of Borno State confirmed this when he said by December, he is going to close all Internally Displaced Persons’ camps.

The minister explained that although Nigeria might not have overcome its security challenges, the situation is now better than it was in 2015.

He added: “I know as a Nigerian that the situation I met in 2015 on Boko Haram is not what it is today. And I wish that there is anybody from the Northeast here. Only those from the Northeast will tell you what it was and what it is today.

“Yes we have challenges; we are going to overcome those challenges. We should not join hands with the people that want to sell their arms in bringing down the country by denigrating the military. This is what it is all about.

“I don’t think so that Nigerians are feeling unsafe than they were in 2015. What was the situation in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018? What is it today? And if there is anything, I think the situation has improved. I am not saying we have overcome them.”

He identified the suspension of telecommunications services in the Northwest as part of measures taken to curtail banditry.

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Mohammed said: “The new acquisition of the military has helped matters both in combating terrorists and bandits. I was in Katsina State about two weeks ago and I pointedly asked the governor: Is the situation improving against the background of the measures you have taken. And his answer was yes. He did not hesitate.

“One of the measures they took was that they restricted sale of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) to 5,000 per one bus. They also banned sale of second hand motorcycles, they restricted and disrupted telecoms service in many areas; and they closed some markets where rustled cows were being sold.

“The restriction of the sale of petrol to 5,000 per person has hampered the movement of the bandits, they cannot move as freely as they used to move. Now they are looking for refuge and they are looking for food.

“If anybody has witnessed bandits, they come in numbers and one weapon they have is motorcycle. As a matter of fact, I am told that even within the camp, when they want to punish them, they simply take their guns and motorcycles. Without a gun and motorcycle, a bandit is useless.

“The combined effects and efficiency of the military in both the Northwest and the Northeast and the decision taken by the governors in the Northwest has now made the bandits even much more desperate.

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